Prayers leading to Christmas – 17
O God the creator of the heavens and the earth, I pray make me strong to resist evil counsel. Just like the wise men called the Magi, who were able to say no to Herod’s wicked scheme towards Jesus the Messiah, let me also say no, be it in action or words towards the Herod’s of this age. Let me be given the wisdom and strength, to know whom not to give into, and also continue to resist their plans of deception and violence. I also ask you to guide me by the Holy Spirit, to watch my steps in the days of evil, and so refrain from doing wrong and causing others unjust harm. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
Avoid having a vacant mind
Avoid having a vacant mind,
Lest from heavens path you get left behind.
Blank not your mind even mildly,
Lest your life goes on wildly.
Avoid being away from God’s Word in thought disengaged,
Lest by the dark insidious world you get upstaged.
Never ever hollow your soul,
Lest you miss your heavenly goal.
Avoid blankly using your head,
Lest you don’t discern instead.
Avoid not thinking at all,
Lest you don’t do good either big or small.
Do not judge by appearances
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24)
Jesus in his great wisdom tells us not to judge by appearance but rather with right judgment. Here judgment is not necessarily about condemning anyone but rather having a right view of people and things.
You can apply this principle in many ways. This usually comes in handy in your interaction with others whom you either see or meet. You can apply this in relationships, church, buying things, leaders etc.
A girl sees a robust looking man and decides to marry to him. She goes by his appearance alone. After two years of marriage, she now asks for divorce. Her reason for divorce is that her husband is a heavy drinker and beats her up every time he gets drunk. Suddenly his looks are no longer relevant to this bruised up girl.
A boy wants to marry a very attractive female whom he sees at a coffee shop. He keeps thinking if he should try his luck to meet her right away. So, immediately he approaches her for marriage but she says a no to him. Later in the newspaper he finds out that this woman is into drug trafficking and was arrested just days after she rejected him. He realizes how he just got saved from her.
Now just think for a moment if in both these cases the wisdom of John 7:24 was applied. Then both the boy and girl would try to observe behavior pattern, they wouldn’t make a hurried decision. They wouldn’t keep physical attractiveness as the only criteria for marriage. Most of all they would get the opinion of their family and wise friends before heading for marriage. This would save them a lot of embarrassment in the long term. (In fact some people may be ugly outwardly but inwardly are very beautiful in their character.)
There’s a grim-looking unibrowed guest preacher at church. People are skeptical about his sermon that’s going to start. Yet he speaks only words of hope and encouragement in the name of Jesus Christ. The people who disliked his face suddenly wonder how could a stern looking person give them a wonderful sermon. Many now are convicted of their presumptuous thinking and pray for God’s mercy on them.
A new preacher comes to town and is visiting many churches. He comes dressed up in all white with a golden cross medal around his neck. Besides he looks angelic. Then at a church hall he gives a sermon and receives a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance. Even the resident preacher claps in approval. Little do the people realize that this preacher in white is a fraud. For that person goes city to city collecting money for a South American missionary outpost that doesn’t exist. Only after that preacher leaves the city when news arrives of his deception among the previous churches he visited. The resident preacher and his congregation feel stupid now.
If the people in such churches decided to not go by looks alone but instead research the facts they would not be conned. Also by not thinking bad of a person just because he doesn’t look handsome they would have avoided having a faulty opinion about the sermon before it was even preached.
Often ads show that person buys a fancy looking pen and eventually shows him as a successful businessman after he bought the pen. And people who see such ads get induced to buy such a pen thinking of success that apparently comes with that pen. Months and years later these people are still earning the same thing and some are even out of jobs! Such type of people must realize that a dazzling pen is no guarantee of success.
There are some graphics on food products that show a happy looking person having a bite into the product. While there are similar looking foods in the market that just have the name of the product labelled in the packaging. People again blindly opt to buy the food product that has a happy face without checking on the actual nutritional value of the stuff they are buying. It’s odd to just assume that a happy face always means good food. In truth, the model you see on the graphics is smiling because he/she is paid money to do so for the camera. (Hope that sinks in)
Never buy a product even if they directly or indirectly imply health, wealth and happiness or even better relationships. You never know if they are just lying to get you to buy their stuff. Rather keep an open mind, think objectively and do your research. It’s that simple.
In a democracy people often make the mistake of electing their leaders based on their looks. Just throw a pleasant and sober image of a family loving man and you get the majority thinking that he is the right person for the job. Add a well cut suit and his chances of being the supreme leader become even more. Then as years have gone by the same people who elected him into power now are lamenting over how he ruined the economy, increased the debt and got more good laws overturned. How badly do they wish they did their research on his ability to run the nation, before he got elected.
While a dictatorship too has a similar thing it not always the majority that elects the monster into power. Some of the dictator’s stooges are so convinced by the proud and confident looks of their leader that they go to any lengths to make sure they manipulate the rest of the country. So they murder, steal and deceive if they feel that a need arises to get their precious little hero appointed as the main ruler of the entire nation. Grand foolishness indeed.
If and only if the people of the world would use right judgement and check all the facts about their leaders there could be lesser corruption in the ways countries are run. Perhaps that would lead to better governance and what not. However, the unsaved still get beguiled by demons that look like angels of light and choose fools, cowards or sometimes just downright selfish rulers for themselves. No wonder believers in Christ are to not keep quiet but rather pray about these things, so that the leaders of the earth rule their country in truth and justice.
Finally, in general
As you have read on relationships, church, buying things, leaders you will understand that these are just four of the many areas in life where you can apply the principle of judging not by appearances but rather with right judgement. You can apply this in survival, combat, personal decisions, work and business decisions, financial decisions etc. To give you an example, just because there is a beauty in the surroundings in the calm before the storm, it does not mean that the storm will be beautiful. In fact you’d rather use that time of calm to start finding safe shelter from the storm. Use your mind, use knowledge and don’t be dependent only on your emotions that come by observing the beauty and ugliness in what you see around you. Discern well and live well.
Christ be with you!
Posted in Discernment, Practical living
Tags: avoid deception, avoiding worthless products, beware of fraud, business, buying things, calm, church, combat, democracy, dictatorship, discernment, faulty opinion, faulty thinking, financial decisions, Jesus Christ, knowledge, leaders, marriage, objectiveness, open mind, personal decisions, relationships, right judgement, right relations, survival, vanity, work, wrong relations